Thursday, July 31, 2014

IN PICTURES–Ramadan in July via Instagram

Hey lovelies, hope your Eid was amazing. Dropping by to share glimpses of July as it comes to an end. Since most of the pictures I took from my camera were of food, I know:p, here is the Instagram version for this month instead. Enjoy!
The mosque got festive as Ramadan began. Loved the odd evenings before Iftar2 when the husband was taking a nap and Anya was down for the night. Peaceful bliss as I read my Quran3.
Enjoyed these Ramadan/Eid1 books for kids from the library. Here are the links 1, 2, 3
Seattle summer kicked off with some hot hot days as the month began and then some not so warm ones like one morning of 4th of July crafting at Gymboree’s Play and Music.  
It was hard to get through the 18+ hour long fasting days at home. And many a cooking sessions at her new play kitchen (Her gift for finally going diaper-free:p) kept us occupied as did walks around the neighborhood when the day just wouldn’t end. Every night ended with some chai with the hubby after Anya went to bed.
Decorated up the house a little for Ramadan with our advent calendar which was updated every five days or so:p. Baked cookies every Friday evening with my little girl, to take to our sweet friends hosting our tradition of Potluck iftars2.
There is something about Ramadan. Despite the lack of energy, the hunger and the thirst, it brings you closer to the deepest parts of yourself. It makes way for self reflection, for compassion, for empathy, for a desire to be a better person. And its beautiful. For the past couple of years, amid the excitement of Eid, I find the faintest sadness for the end of another Ramadan1. Why does praying, empathy, kindness, every little good deed become so much easier in Ramadan1 and then harder as you get used to your old life?
As Ramadan1 ends, lets all try to continue the good habits we started. Lets change even one small thing about ourselves or our lives for the better. Lets not let the good we earned go in vain.
How was your Ramadan?
Thanks for stopping by and lots of love.

1Ramadan in Arabic is the month of fasting. Muslims all around the world abstain from food etc from dawn to dusk. It is a month of spiritual awareness, compassion and kindness and ends with the celebration of Eid ul Fitr.
2Iftar is the meal Muslims eat to open their fast at sunset. Different cultures have different traditions to open their fast but most consist of dates and water and then traditional meals.
3Quran is the Islamic sacred book, the word of God as dictated to Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel and written down in Arabic.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Eid Mubarak

Just dropping by real quick to wish all of my Muslim readers a very happy Eid1. May all the blessings and joys of Eid be with you and your family. And may the power of Ramadan stay with you until the next one inshaAllah2


Will be back with regular posting super soon.

Thanks for reading and lots of love.


1Eid ul Fitr is one of the two most important religious celebrations for Muslims all over the world. It is celebrated at the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.

2 InshaAllah is an Arabic word that translates as ‘if Allah wills’. It is usually used when discussing anything about the future, as an acknowledgement of our lives being in the hand of our creator, however much we plan to do something.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Oh children of Palestine

Palestinians run following what police said was an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza city July 9, 2014. (Reuters / Majdi Fathi)

Since the events of the past days, my news feed has been full of truly disturbing, heartbreaking images. Of dying little kids and adults, of parents bathed in their children's blood as they hang on the corpses of their children. Images so graphic that my first response is wanting to quickly scroll down so my brain doesn't replay these scenes in my head again and again. So I don’t have to think or feel, but that is exactly what we have to do, to let ourselves feel their pain, let ourselves feel the agony of holding your dying child/sibling/parent/friend in your arms. As a mom my heart absolutely weeps, just like any parents' would, or any human being's for that matter. What makes human lives, children’s lives more valuable in certain areas and less so in others? Whatever the political situation is, no humans, and specially no babies and kids, deserve to die like this.

Tonight as I lay with my daughter in bed, I lingered a little longer after she fell asleep, stroked her hair and just felt her little arms and legs under my hands. I stared at her sleeping face and kissed her with a tears in my eyes as my mind reconstructed the tragic images my eyes have been seeing the past few days. It is so hard to imagine the hatred that kills little children on an almost daily basis, the moms and dads that have held their dying kids in their arms. And it was too much for me to take. I said a quick prayer for them, shook my head and chose to think of other things as I left her room. But to truly realize the injustice, the heartbreak, the cruelty, whichever religion or state we belong to, we need to let ourselves feel this discomfort.

I will not post one of these tragic pictures up here because I really am not brave enough. But I urge those that have only heard the one-sided media coverage of this blatant human rights violation, to go see some of these images. To take a minute and truly look at these heartbreaking pictures, feel the pain in their faces, and put yourselves in their feet and imagine their world. In today's day and age if we think we can close our eyes to it, that is not possible. Whatever reasons the media has for turning a blind eye to the suffering of one side of this war, we have no excuse to stay ignorant. Get your facts, open your eyes, let your hearts feel, and at least speak up.

Thanks for reading.


Two news sources to get more accurate coverage on the region are RT and Al Jazeera.

A history of the Israel-Palestine crisis. 

A graphical representation of historical facts relating to the crisis.

Statistics of casualties on both sides.

Also important to remember that just as all Muslims are not terrorists, all Jews are not on the same side. Read Testimonies from Israeli soldiers who have served in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. and Why she wants to give up her Israeli passport. So do not hate indiscriminately. 

Some famous people that have spoken up include Einstein, Stephen Hawkings, Christian Ronaldo, Roger Waters, Stevie Wonders, Elvis Costello

Dr Norman Finkelstein responds to the Holocaust argument.

One of the biggest voices from the western world on this issue, George Galloway’s address in Vancouver.

Jon Stewart perfectly sums up the situation in Gaza

The child victims of Palestine, a disturbing collection of these innocent victims. To realize the suffering, I believe it is important to view these and question the wars that do this.

It is also interesting to read what Muhammad taught us about war-times and the rules that are needed to be followed.

As we speak out about this human rights violation, it is also important to remember the injustices around us, in our own societies. From atrocities against Shias, minorities, Ahmadis, Christians, Hazaras, killings in the name of honor and the massacres by ISIS and the many other terrorist organizations in the Muslim world. As we stand with the Palestinian victims, make sure you are not being silent about the many victims in your own societies.

And as important as it is to raise awareness on this situation, please consider donating for the victims too.

Monday, July 7, 2014

This Ramadan.

2012-07-31 006

Hey my sweet readers. Looks like I have been totally missing on the blog since before Ramadan started. But now that the first week of fasting has gone by, I might be getting the hang of things, somewhat. Happy Ramadan to all of my Muslim readers. Wishing this month brings peace, blessings, and Allah’s guidance your way. Ameen.

Just wanted to share some Ramadan related links that have been inspiring me.

Loving this Back2Quran series where they are adding summaries of Quranic Surahs.
- This post by Aisha Saeed about supporting books on Ramadan and Eid for children.
- 30 days of beautiful Ramadan inspirations via Times.
- Love the tips shared on Productive Muslim to have a Productive Ramadan.
- Enjoying daily Ramadan reflections via Huffington Post by Imam Khalid Latif
- Loved President Obama’s message to Muslims on beginning of Ramadan. Here’s a link to the video too.

Plus for new readers, more Ramadan posts from the past.

- When I remembered all those Ramadans spent back in Pakistan
- When I shared ideas on making your own Ramadan traditions and memories.

And throughout this month I will be pinning inspiring ideas and articles here. Check them out.

Thanks for reading and stopping by. Stay inspired and have a lovely Ramadan.

Friday, July 4, 2014

This country that we call home.

I write a lot about Pakistan and life back there but not enough about our life in the States. And I thought today, being 4th of July, would be the perfect time to share some thoughts about this country we call home. Wishing a very happy 4th of July to all of my American readers:).

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Unlike many that moved to the US for a better life for themselves and their families, we moved for less severe reasons. We enjoyed a fairly privileged life back in Pakistan. A better employment opportunity brought my husband to America and marriage brought me. Initially we assumed we would stay here for a couple of years and ultimately move back. We missed our families and the familiarity of the people, the culture, the foods and everyday life.

And then slowly as time passed, things began to change and we began to value many of the things about this fascinating country that had started to feel like home.

Here are just a few of the things about life in the States that I personally really like.

-- I love the freedom. To speak what you believe in, to follow the religion you believe in, to wear the kind of clothes you want to wear, is a huge privilege, not given to citizens of many countries across the world. Living here you can start taking it for granted, but when you look around, you realize how amazing that is.

-- I love the diversity. America has a history of multicultural beginnings, and over time it is the perfect environment to live alongside people from different backgrounds. To understand that people can be so different in the way they look, in the religion they practice or not for what matter, the food they eat, how they talk and dress but inside in so many ways we're all the same and want similar things from our lives. I love how most people you meet are interested in your religion and the country you come from and will ask questions about it despite the picture they probably have in their heads already thanks to the media.

-- I love how every person no matter what socio-economic level they come from, or the kind of work they do, are equal.. In America, even a cleaning lady deserves respect. She has a skill that she is good at, and earns an honest living and that gives no one the right to disrespect her or treat her less than any other person. I love that there is respect for labor here.

-- I love how friendly people generally are (once out of the airport security and immigration, of course:p). How strangers will greet you and open doors for you, how the cashier at the grocery store will ask how your day is going, how when your eyes meet with a random person at the mall or anywhere, it is not uncommon that they will give you a kind smile. You notice this even more once you have kids. Everywhere we go with our daughter, she gets loving looks and smiles and random people will try to strike conversations with her. Americans love kids.

-- I love that there is respect for law and how no one is above the law. I love how everyone has equal rights and I don’t need any 'contacts' to get a simple problem solved. I love how systems are simpler. I love the protection you feel because of the law enforcement agencies and I love that if you have been wronged the law is on your side.

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Every country has it’s positives and negatives and above are just a a few of the positive things we have experienced in our time here. Someone else’s experience might be different and I understand. I believe that instead of finding faults, we should absorb the good things about any culture, and let them broaden our horizons. In return, we should pass on the good we bring back from our own cultures.

Thanks for reading and stopping by.